Background to the development of the Incredible Years Parent Child and Teacher programmes in Wales

The programmes have been developed by Professor Webster-Stratton at the University of Washington over the last 30+ years. There is extensive research with long-term (10 year) follow-up particularly for the Parent programmes, which were developed first, but also for the Child and Teacher programmes. The evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of the programmes, both as early intervention, preventives, programmes and as treatment programmes for children with conduct disorder. The main IY website has hundreds of articles attesting to the effectiveness of the programmes from across the world including Canada, Norway, England, Ireland, Jamaica, and New Zealand. All of our Welsh published work is also available on that website. http://www.incredibleyears.com

The IY Parent programme was identified by NICE as a treatment for conduct disorder and for early onset ADHD and the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners included it in the evidence-based programmes that it disseminated across England.

Local work in Wales using the IY programmes
The work in Wales started in 2000 with delivery of the Parenting programme in what was then the North West Wales NHS CAMHS service. Its use quickly spread to early intervention Sure Start services and the Child and Teacher programmes were soon introduced. Within a couple of years we developed in-house training and consultation for the programmes in Wales and since that time have undertaken an extensive range of research evaluations of the programmes, establishing a strong evidence base for them.

We have had research partners in services across Wales and the strength of our research is that, whilst the researchers have been based at Bangor University the programmes have been delivered in regular service settings in health, education and social care services across Wales. Our research has evaluated the effectiveness of the programmes in real world service settings. Our results have been published in high impact journals including the British Medical Journal, the British Journal of Psychiatry and Education and Child Psychology as well as professional journals such as the Journal of Children’s Services, the British Journal of Nursing and the Psychologist.

IY research at Bangor University commenced in 2002 working with local Sure Start services and focused on how to engage and retain high-risk families in interventions and prevent and treat childhood conduct disorder. Through this work the research team developed strong links with local statutory, voluntary and private organisations. Voluntary agencies include Barnardo’s, GISDA, Home Start, Action for Children and local voluntary groups. Statutory agencies include Education, Health and Social Care services from Authorities across Wales, mainly in convergence areas. The university team has partnered with specialist CAMHS services, early intervention services, schools and looked after children’s services across Wales.

The interventions have produced identifiable economic benefits for participants (both parents and children) and services, in terms of reduced cost of services for child behaviour problems and also significant improvements in parental mental health. Economic evaluation of the programmes has been undertaken by the Centre for Economics of Health Policy (CEPhI) at Bangor University with whom there is ongoing collaboration in evaluating the cost effectiveness of the programmes delivered.

Evidence of the effectiveness of the IY programmes in Wales led to their inclusion in the Parenting Action Plan for Wales and, since 2006, Professor Hutchings has trained staff across Wales to deliver the Parent programmes. Since 2008, based on research outcomes for the Child and Teacher programmes, Welsh Government  funded training has also included the Child and Teacher programmes.

Judy Hutchings
August 2011.

To view the programmes please click here : The Incredible Years Programmes